Questions & Corrections

I have worked really hard – alongside my editor, fact-checker, and lawyers in the US and UK – to make sure everything in the book is accurate. If there are any errors left in the text, I’d be grateful for your help in correcting them for future editions and for the record. If you spot any mistakes, please email me at the address above. I’ll post corrections on the same date, and give you a shout-out for spotting them.

If there was anything the book left you wondering, please do message me at and I’ll be happy to try to figure out the answer.


  • Corrections XIV – posted September 8th 2015

    A few more corrections have come through from readers:

    On page 121, explaining the origins of the Mexican drug cartel the Zetas, I wrote: “It would be as if the Navy Seals defected from the U.S. Army to help the Crips take over Los Angeles— and succeeded.” Michael Amygdalidis emailed to point out that the Navy Seals aren’t part of the US Army – they’re part of the US Navy, so the sentence doesn’t make much sense. In future, it will say “defected from the US military.” Thanks to Michael for pointing this out.

    On page 277, I refer to the city of Waunakee, where Tonya Winchester worked. She in fact worked in the city of Wenatchee. Thanks to Vito Perillo and Geoff Ashworth for pointing this out.

    And although nobody has mentioned them, I also want to correct two small mistakes I realized I made in a few interviews in Australia.

    I discussed the evidence that 85 percent of people who use ‘ice’ (crystal meth) don’t become addicted, and I referred to research by Professor Carl Hart at Columbia University. I learned about this research from Carl, and he has written about it himself brilliantly, and conducted other crucial research into this drug. But the original research yielding the 85 percent figure was in fact carried out – as Carl himself acknowledges whenever he writes or talks about it – by MS O’Brien and JC Anthony. It was published in the journal Drug Alcohol Dependency in September 2009, in the article ‘Extra-medical stimulant dependence among recent initiates.’ I apologize for this error: I’ll give them the credit whenever I discuss this in future.

    Also, I have tried to stress in interviews I’ve done that whenever I quote from one of the subjects of my book when I speaking off the cuff, on the radio or in answer to questions at events, I’m paraphrasing them – I haven’t memorized verbatim everything they said to me. It occurred to me that I forgot to do that in some of my more recent speeches. So I’d like to reiterate that all the quotes in the book are verbatim and can be heard on this website; any quote I offer from memory when giving non-scripted talks or interviews in public may be slightly off and if you want the exact words, it’s best to consult the book, or the audio I’ve posted here.

    If there are any mistakes you spot in the book, please do email me, and I’ll thank you here: the email address is

  • Corrections XIII – posted 11th April 2015

    A few more corrections have been brought to my attention.

    Jonas van Hoffmann emailed to point out two mistakes. On page 259, it says President Mujica of Uruguay was elected in 2005. This is a typo: he was elected in 2009. On page 273, I discuss how representatives of the British drug reform group Transform went to Uruguay to advise President Mujica. It should be phrased to make it clear that the representatives who went were Steve Rolles and Lisa Sanchez; Danny Kushlick offered ideas and strategic advice from Britain but did not go to Uruguay.

    Erin Flanigan emailed to point out that on page 110, I refer to Sheriff Joe Arpaio as having a “shining yellow lawmaker's badge”. It should say a “shining lawman’s badge” – his job is not to make the law but to uphold the law.

    John Fitzgerald emailed to point out that on page 160, I have phrased something imprecisely: it sounds as if I am saying that Dr Vincent Felitti conducted a different study to the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey; in fact, he was one of the leading scientists on that original project.

    And Andres Seidler emailed to point out two typos. On page 94, it says: “I kept trying to understand this dynamic, and the more cops I met— people who were not racist, but had produced a racist outcome— there more it came into focus.” It should say “the more it came into focus.” And on page 266, I write: "One of the successes of prohibition that it probably does hold down drug use somewhat.” It should of course say: “One of the successes of prohibition is that is probably does hold down drug use somewhat.”

    Thank you to Jonas, Erin, John and Andres! These will all be corrected in future editions. If anyone reading this spots any other mistakes please do email me - - and I’ll give you a shout-out here.

  • Corrections XII

    Brent Stone emailed to point out a typo. On page 77 in some editions of the book it says: "A few years after the incident Chino I was describing, an in-depth investigation by the federal government..." It should of course say "A few years after the incident Chino was describing, an in-depth investigation by the federal government...." without the additional 'I'. Thanks to Brent for spotting this - it will be corrected in all future editions.

  • Corrections XI – posted March 19th 2015

    The excellent translator who is preparing the Spanish version of the book, María José Viejo, noticed some typos and minor errors that I’m keen to correct for the record and in future editions.


    The first is a sentence that could be clearer. On page 269, it says: “After drug prohibition, it’s reasonable to expect that the milder forms of drugs that were popular before prohibition will come back, just as beer did.” A few people stumbled on this sentence – it would be clearer to say “After drug prohibition ends, it’s reasonable…”


    On pages 53 and 141, where it says “Plato o plomo,” it should in fact say say “Plata o plomo.”


    On page 133, where it says “Fronterisa Baja”, it should say “Fronteriza Baja.”


    On page 163, where it says “arbeit macht frei,” it should say “Arbeit macht frei”. (My dad, who is a German speaker, also noticed this with a tut).


    On pages 336 and 372, where it says ‘9 Murders a Day’, (referring to the name of a documentary), it should say '8 Murders a Day.'


    On pages 353 note 1, and 354 note 8 and 366, where it says ‘Rosencoff’, it should say‘Rosencof’.


    Also, a few lines were cut for legal reasons at the last minute, but due to a production glitch, we didn’t cut the endnotes that go with them. They will be cut in future editions. They are:


    On page 330


    107 fight in the showers Gabba later told me she did not believe these women were telling the truth and she had never seen that happen.”


    107 proven to happen in California See the HBO documental Gladiator Days.”


    And on page 331


    112 to switch her off  <>.”


    Thanks to Mario for spotting these – I really appreciate it.

  • Corrections X – posted March 12th 2015 Nancy Carroll emailed to point out a typo. On page 211, I mistyped Ed Bradley's name as "Ed Brantley". Thanks to Nancy for pointing this out - it will be corrected in future editions.
  • Corrections IX – posted 7th March 2015

    On p51, I refer to the World Series baseball game rigged by Arnold Rothstein in 1919, and say “50 million people were listening in.” In fact, the first live radio broadcast of the World Series was in 1921 – I will change this in future editions to say “50 million people were following the result.” Thanks to the reader who emailed about this – I haven’t heard back from him yet about whether I can use his name but I’ll post it if he gives permission.

    On p120, I refer to the videogame Rosalio Reta used to play as ‘The Mask of Zelda.’ In fact, it is called ‘The Legend of Zelda.’ Thanks to Mark Whitfield for emailing me about this.

    On p251, there’s a page reference that is given incorrectly in the footnotes. I refer to how HIV transmission among drug users has fallen dramatically in Portugal since drugs were decriminalized, and the footnote says the evidence for this can be found on page 36 of Arthur Domaslawski’s research; in fact, it is on page 40. Thanks to Stuart Rodger for pointing this out.